I'm teaching Nehemiah for this six week segment. It's been really interesting - I have a fabulous study I'm working from looking at leading projects biblically, esp in a church setting. We're having a really good discussion every week, and this morning we semi-diverged from the topic (Resolving Internal Conflicts) to over-arching goals. What are our goals as a community? What is the specific burden placed in the heart of this parish? Who are we supposed to be to each other?
As a church, we have a vision statement. We are to be Christ's presence in the community. What does that mean? What does that look like?
What are we supposed to do when someone's behavior doesn't look like that?
Because we are Episcopalians. We are the people of the broad theology and the accepting nature and the constant politeness. How dare we judge? And it's so much easier to be passive, to not call someone out, to not say, "No. That's not right." I do it. It's 'picking my battles'. But that's not what I'm called to do, not with my brothers and sisters. I am called to be active, to not just let things slide. I am called to say, "Are you sure?" right along side "Can I help?" and "What is best?" Sometimes, rarely, I must say, "I don't think so," or the dreaded, "Stop. No. That is not right." It's not my job - I am not their clergy. But I am their friend. I am their sister in Christ. I am also tasked to help others be the presence of Christ in the world, and sometimes that task requires breaking the comfortable silence and not letting things just...go, when that damages the world's perception of the church. Or when it damages them.
These are people with whom I share a Table. In the midst of all our lives, the presence of that shared meal is important, because it requires me to care. It enjoins me to open my heart and mind and ask the hard questions...and truly listen and hear the answers.
This morning's communion anthem has very quickly become a favorite. I hear in it the sound of a call, of a reminder that part of what it means to be a Christian, is to come to the table, to be fed, renewed, and made one, the body of Christ. It's up to us, to be the visible work and community of God in the World.